The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear the plea of the diesel taxi owners move on seeking an extension of time to convert diesel cars into CNG mode.
The apex court will consider extending the deadline for its December order on banning registration of diesel vehicles seeking help from the government.
The ban was supposed to come into effect from 1 April.
Now it appears from today's hearing that the Supreme Court is mulling upon an Environment Compensation Charge instead of a ban.
For a while now, diesel-run vehicles have been considered a major bane, responsible for Delhi's air pollution woes, the news of which has featured in the international media also.
The situation apparently turned so grim that the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the top body for adjudicating India's environmental matters, in a ruling in November last year, imposed a ban on al diesel cabs plying point-to-point in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region) territory.
App-based cab-operating services, such as Ola and Uber, were the first to Ã¢comply with the NGT ruling; Ola has already taken off all diesel-run cars while Uber is in the process of a complete transition.
However, private taxi operators are yet to make the transition, and today, they moved the Supreme Court challenging the NGT ruling. Their principal ground is that the tribunal was wrong to impose a ban only on cabs while ignoring private vehicles altogether. This, the private cab owners' group contended, impinged upon their Fundamental Right to equality guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.
Moreover, they also contended that the complete ban was an illegal incursion into their Fundamental Right to freedom of trade and profession guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution.
It was apprehended, and not without basis, that if the apex court upheld the NGT ban, it would lead to a lot of commuter woes. Also, if many cabs are taken off the roads, it would adversely affect women's safety because many women avail cabs services, as a safety measure, while commuting during late hours.
The next hearing is on 2 April.
-With ANI inputs